Category Archives: nature

Across the road

Was a whole different universe,
of course the road was the A40
or the Western Avenue as we called it then.
One side urban west London
the other a seemingly limitless sprawl of brambles
riddled with paths sized for squeezing small children
as if the local mothers had arranged it so
that adults could not blackberry but only
give instructions from the edges.
Everyone brambled in summer
red stained children limping home
at days end with huge leaking bags of berries
and a future full of pies and jam.
The real magic of that place was a stream
clear and sparkling, running over pebbles
in places deep and wide, where
baby brothers could be washed
and drinking cups filled.
The shallows were my solitary joy in spring when
armed with a net and an empty jam jar I searched for
blushed red male Sticklebacks, to bring them home
and watch them, marvelling at
their writhing sinuous shapes,
those outsized blue-green eyes
the sharp stickles on each back.

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Taking part in Sarah Connor’s challenge over at Earthweal.

Here’s Sarah’s prompt:

“So, for this prompt, I’d like you to think about how you first felt connected to nature – maybe as a child, or as an adult. Some of those lost words may inspire you, or you may have your own lost word (or world?) that gave you a sense of wonder at the natural world around you. Maybe you collected caterpillars, or watched birds on a bird-table, or squatted down to watch beetles, or looked up to see squirrels in the treetops.”

Chorus

Serenading light’s rising,
waking at a first feeble glimmer
creeping from the east.
Each bird a separate voice
whole body singing from tails depth.
Performing a duty since the original melodious call
heralding dawns radiance
thankful for a daily miracle.
Worshipping warmth’s return
and the new day.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Standing on Dunkery

Any hill will do
They all are sacred, but
Dunkery at twilight
As mist seeps up from
Purple heather
Horizons broaden out
And valleys settle into shadow

Sheep bleat, asking for their land back
But we walk the broad path
To a scattered mound of stone
Skirting nervous wild ponies
As the sun paints them golden

Ponies never ask, it is always theirs
As it belonged to the mound builders
Five thousand years ago
As it belongs
And doesn’t belong
To us all
But especially tonight
To me and mine

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Written in response to this weeks EarthWeal challenge “Sacred Landscapes“. Exmoor is very special and it’s highest point, Dunkery Beacon, even more so.

A Fox Crossed Barley Lane

A wonderful tale of foxes and people over time:

lifecameos

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
towards the scattered Essex farms
to hunt for a springtime dinner of hens
ducks, geese with newly hatched young.
He passed a farm labourer plodding along
the rutted track to a meagre dinner.
The fox would dine better than he tonight.

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
towards the prosperous Essex farms
keenly seeking a poultry dinner
from their large abundant barns.
He briskly rounded the loaded wagons
creaking along the potholed track.
His mind was on his dinner.

A fox crossed Barley Lane at dusk
trotting from his den on the heath
to seek his dinner at Essex farms and
backyards along the High Road
crossing Barley Lane as it followed
the new railway with its deafening trains.
It took more work to extract his dinner
but…

View original post 80 more words

Walking in the Park

They have mown the grass in the park
Well, most of it
The scent is wonderful
It has been left long on the Bronze Age burial mounds
Where the wild grass flowers form a purpled haze
Behind, Foxgloves spike up from the drainage ditch  into the hedge
I walk up the southern mound to find the stone marked PEACE
Commemorating more recent dead from civil war
The sky is littered with clouds white and gray
As its blue darkens towards twilight
On this long June evening
After a day of rain
The scent of new mown grass says
Summer

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

There are never enough photos of Pico

There are never enough photos of Pico
Says he, as he takes yet one more
The light has changed again
And the mountain looks about to roar
We’ve flown over and around her
Driven along her lower slopes
But the best view is away from her
From little Horta’s shore

The mountain slumbers on
Fuji slopes gracefully curving down
She glows rose in the dawns light
By midday she can glower and frown
Clouds drape her and embrace her
Shadowing scree and walled-in grapevine
However far we travel away from her
Somehow that volcano is always mine

Copyright © 2015 Kim Whysall-Hammond

And so we end our Virtual Holiday in the Azores with a poem about my favourite volcano.  The first line is a quote from my  Cheeseseller, as the mountain changed once more and he took yet another photo!

I hope you enjoyed your trip. The photo below was taken  just after dawn, from our hotel balcony on the isaland of Faial, as we prepared to return to England.

Mum_P1140851_

Magma Cave

Shards of rock lie  silent
As ferns lean toward the sun
Along the sides of the great vent
Cut into a perfect dome above
Sulphur from a tepid celadon lake
fills the air

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

From a visit to Furna do Enxofre, an empty magma chamber in the Azores. Empty of magma, not fumes….

…the painting is my own, and one of several of the vent….

 

Day 4 of our virtual Azores Holiday………… We will be there all week — a poem a day to fly you away……

Glass bottomed boat

 

Swaying bobbing we peer through the hull
Eagle Rays swish beneath us chasing the unknown
Light glints on a startled shoal sashaying across the rocks
Gas bubbles up from volcanic clefts
Crabs glance sideways, looking for the main chance

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Day 3 of our virtual Azores holiday!

 We will be there all week — a poem a day to fly you away……

Boundless blue

The boundless blue surrounds
As we plunge into its secrets
Swimming after parrot fish
Startled by porpoise
The only sound the bubbles of my breathing
In and out of the snorkel

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Day 2 of our virtual Azores Holiday!

 We will be there all week — a poem a day to fly you away……